800 pound pizza
All Steven Assanti wanted was a pizza
The Cranston, R.I. man says he was kicked out of Rhode Island Hospital after being told he had violated the conditions of his healthcare plan by ordering a pizza.
Assanti, who tips the scales at over 800 pounds, says he suffers from a food addiction.
“It’s an addiction, and I realize that. And it’s a disease,” Assanti told NBC 10 News in Rhode Island.
According to reports, the morbidly obese man was a patient at Rhode Island Hospital as for nearly four months. He struggled to get his weight under control. He says the plan was to get his weight down to a more manageable level before considering surgery.
“I was supposed to stay there and lose all my weight and get down to 550 to get the gastric bypass,” said Assanti. “That was their plan.”
But pizza didn’t fit into that plan. Assanti alleges it was his call to get a pizza delivery that prompted the health facility to ask him to leave.
Representatives for Rhode Island Hospital refused to discuss any aspects of Assanti’s condition or his treatment at the hospital with local media in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
Assanti has built a following on YouTube with comedic videos of himself dancing to pop songs like “My Humps,” but now he’s reaching higher. On Thursday, Assanti posted a Facebook video message that said, in part: “I just want to say Rosie O’Donnell inspires me, because she had weight loss surgery, and I’d like to know how she did it. So, I’m not being a stalker, but call me girl!”
Assanti says since leaving the hospital he has been living out of the truck of his father’s SUV. His father Steven Veillette told NBC News that unless Assanti gets help quickly, he worries he’ll lose his son.
“If he comes home and I do get him up the stairs somehow, someway he’s going to go right back to his eating habits,” Veillette said. “I just don’t know who to turn to. I called everybody, everybody you can think of in the state of Rhode Island and nobody seems to be [able to] help me.”
In a recent study of 8,815 bariatric surgery patients, most of whom had the gastric bypass type, about 1.3 percent of those people were later hospitalized, often under emergencies, for physically harming themselves. The study found that depression that existed before the obesity remained after surgery, doing even more damage to the psyche of the patient trying to recover.
About 6 percent of Americans are morbidly obese, and, with those figures on the rise, the lack of sufficient mental health care in America may be the 800-pound elephant in the room.